Therapy and Running Have Given Me Hope

Living with off and on chronic anxiety and depression is a struggle; just getting through the day is a challenge. It feels like sometimes I am drowning and I can see everyone around me breathing and/or everyone else is fine. I think when you suffer from the chronic disease depression, the future seems overwhelming and impossible, sometimes hard to handle. Anxiety in my opinion, is worse than depression. Anxiety and striving for perfection put constant pressure on me. It is the absolute worst feeling anyone can feel on the planet. But what has helped me cope are therapy and running. 

I went through dozens of therapists. Some instances I was very short tempered, rude and blunt with my therapists. I cannot tell you how many times they twiddled their thumbs at me and said… “How does that make you feel?” Well, if I felt happy I wouldn’t be in your office. I thought it was meaningless conversations, wasted time and money. The hardest part about therapy is finding a therapist you feel is completely nonbiased and nonjudgmental.  It has to be a space where the therapist can offer insight and advice into situations. 

Then I met someone who was not like the others. She is incredible and helps me so much. She is relatable and easy to talk to. She talks about her problems too. It feels personable and real talking to her. She has helped me more than I ever could imagine anyone could. 

One thing we continually do together is something called “mantra.” She will have me repeat something: “I release the need to constantly prove myself to others, I release my belief in inadequacy.” Honestly, it sounded crazy at first, but I repeat this to myself all the time and it helps me enormously. Something about saying it out loud over and over again in my mind made me believe it. It has helped my brain re-circuit. Citing this mantra has also helped me with holding grudges, something I greatly struggle with. I tend to forgive people easily, but if they hurt me badly I never truly forgive them. My mantra for this is: “I bless this person I am mad at and accept and love them. What they say and do has nothing to do with me. It is a reflection of their own reality.” She has helped me with various topics such as dealing with difficult relationships, career advice and future goals. I am very grateful to have her in my life to help guide me through some major challenges.

Now I want to talk about running. Running is the best thing for someone with depression. It trains our brain to keep going even if we are tired or don’t want to. This is our problem in life; we misinterpret life’s path and we don’t want to keep going anymore. We feel drained, worn out. Running, however, allows us to feel differently. When I’m tired my brain tells me to keep pushing myself. I can’t emphasize the importance of running and working out. It truly helps me feel better and, oftentimes, I feel great afterwards (emotionally and physically!). To make it fun, I make various playlists. I run to the mood of my music. Running also allows me to escape myself. I run to release all the pressure and stress weighing on my body and my heart. I run to escape the paranoid noises in my head. I run to silence that inner dialogue.

Here is a beautiful quote about running. I want to share:

“I run. Because it’s therapeutic for me. Because every time I run outside, around my home, I am reminded of the beauty of the world, of which I often forget. Yet at the same time, I am fully aware of beauty – it simply saddens me because of reasons I have not yet conjured up.
I suppose I am sad. But at the same time I am happy; and miserable; and joyful; and stressed out; and calm, and everything in between. I am everything. I am every emotion, rigged in every format, and developed through every machine. I am numb but I am not.”

by Lizzy